(CBS) With the MLB season opening Sunday when the Cubs host the Cardinals, Facebook has released its annual baseball fandom map of the United States and Canada.
The map is broken down county by county and based on the most Facebook “likes” a team receives from individuals from individuals living in that county. How exact of a science this is remains up for debate (among those smarter than us), but it’s the easiest and most readily available way to measure fandom.READ MORE: Two Men Shot In Robbery Attempt At Garfield Red Line Station
In a somewhat surprising development, the White Sox appear to have more support in the immediate Chicagoland area than the Cubs do, per Facebook’s metrics. This figures to raise the eyebrows of skeptics, as the support for the Cubs in and around the city, anecdotally and empirically speaking, seems to be more than the White Sox. Many will quickly point out that the Cubs draw fans to Wrigley Field much better than the White Sox draw at U.S. Cellular Field, which only saw an average of 20,896 fans attend games in 2014, the lowest mark for the White Sox since 1999, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.
We also know that in 2014, the Cubs drew more eyeballs on television than the White Sox. The Cubs had a 1.5 local average (49,000 Chicago-area households watching per game), according to Crain’s Chicago Business. The White Sox had a 1.15 local average (about 37,000 households), though that was a 4 percent increase over the previous year, per Crain’s.READ MORE: Fields Making Progress, But Won't Play Vs. Cardinals; Dalton To Start At QB Again For Bears
Here’s a more zoomed-in look at the fandom map in the Chicago area.
Outside of Chicago, the Cubs have a plurality fan base in the northern half of Illinois, much of Iowa and a good portion of Indiana. The White Sox’s plurality only exits among Chicagoland counties, so the Cubs no doubt hold far more national appeal — though nothing like that of the Yankees, who have a plurality in at least one county in 24 states, according to Facebook. There’s just something about living in Montana and New Mexico and rooting for the Yankees.MORE NEWS: Accused Teen Gunman's Parents Charged In Oxford High School Shooting
With the Cubs and White Sox making big offseason moves and holding playoff aspirations, there will surely be much debate this summer among fans of Chicago baseball — and perhaps more “likes” on Facebook to further measure support in the city.